Until the End of the Ninth

Beth Mary Bollinger

The 2007 Book Tour

The book tour starts before it begins because of a crop circle.  It is Thursday, July 19, when a friend of mine sends an email asking if anyone wants to go to Wilbur (a town north of Spokane) to view a crop circle that mysteriously has appeared in a farmer’s wheat field (which is, as you may know, how crop circles appear).  I don’t really have time to go but he’s my friend and I don’t want him to go alone so I say sure.  Let’s go. 

One of my scheduled book signings is at the Field of Dreams in Iowa (the site where they filmed the movie).  I am not thinking of the crop circle that way, but when we get there, I think, how weird – I’m on my way to a corn field of possibilities but have stopped first at a wheat field with its own mysticism.  And the crop circle is amazing.  Unbelievable in its perfection.  Aren’t they usually in ?  How did we end up with one here? 

The farmer who owns the land had photographs taken when the circles were in pristine condition. Click here for some photos:  www.seattlechatclub.org/CropCircle.html

As I stand there, and quietly take three stalks of wheat as a memento, suddenly I think: I need nine more.  One for each of the 1946 guys.  So I take nine more.  And then I start giving them away.  One goes to a friend whose husband writes sci-fi novels.  One goes to a friend who has helped with the book.  One goes to my young house sitter who will be watching my cat.  I tell each of them about the crop circle, and of taking nine stalks for the nine men, and of  – oh, I don’t know – of wanting them to know all that, I suppose.  The kernels on each stalk have started to look electrified, which adds to their mystery. 

I believe in creating ritual like this.  Ritual has a way of bringing form and pattern to otherwise ordinary action, and of imagining that there is a purpose to the process that is bigger than we know.  It helps create a consciousness of intention.  Perhaps that is why baseball draws me in – it is so rich in that kind of specially-designed ritual.  In that spirit, I decide to carry the remaining six stalks of wheat in the back seat of my car, knowing three stalks are in Spokane, thinking about where to hand out other stalks along the tour.